Volume 21, No. 1 – July 2021 (Issue #41)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION, pp. v-viii
This introduction celebrates the progress of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, the only interdisciplinary, double-blind peer-reviewed, university press–published periodical devoted to the study of Ayn Rand and her times. It notes the expansion of the journal’s readership and the creation of the new Scholarly Publishing Collective that will further expand the accessibility and visibility of the journal as it enters its third decade of publication.
BEYOND “THE MONEY-MAKING PERSONALITY”: NOTES TOWARD A THEORY OF CAPITALIST ORTHOPRAXY, pp. 1-15
Ayn Rand’s 1963 article “The Money-Making Personality” implied both the concept of a capitalist orthopraxy and the idea that it had an opposite. Robert Bradley Jr.’s multivolume history of Enron’s rise and fall coined the term “contra-capitalism” to describe a business syndrome that forms a stereotypical opposite of capitalist orthopraxy. This essay offers a formal definition of “contra-capitalism” as a development of Rand’s insight.
HEGEMONIC CHANGE AND THE ROLE OF THE INTELLECTUAL IN ATLAS SHRUGGED: A GRAMSCIAN STUDY, pp. 16-30
This article focuses on the hegemonic shift portrayed by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged. The book focuses on the conflict between producers and those who exploit them. The protagonist, John Galt, leads a strike of the producers, which undermines the society’s looters and puts an end to the hegemonic control of the left. Neoliberalism—used here as a synonym for contemporary libertarian thought—rescues the world from the havoc wreaked by statism. This shift is studied in the light of Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, focusing on the role of intellectuals.
RAND ON THE ATONEMENT: A CRITIQUE, pp. 31-41
In March 1964, Ayn Rand sat down for an interview with Playboy. In it, Rand argued that Christ’s atoning sacrifice—if it happened—was morally wrong. The author contends that Rand made a bad argument. Depending on how her words are interpreted, Rand’s argument for the immorality of Christ’s atonement was based on (a) at least one false premise or (b) a “bait-and-switch” fallacy. Either way, the argument fails and should be abandoned.
SELFISH VERSUS SELFISH, pp. 42-55
Ayn Rand’s controversial use of “selfish” and “selfishness” has arguably done as much or more to supply “grist” to her critics and drive people away from her philosophy than to persuade people to adopt it. This article is about her meaning of “selfish” and the common, popular meaning. Succinctly, the former is a high-level abstraction, philosophical, and mainly a way of thinking, whereas the latter is a low-level abstraction, not philosophical, and mainly a way of acting. They also have different contrast terms.
MENTAL INTEGRATIONS AS FUNCTIONAL WHOLES, pp. 56-64
It is argued that a mental integration is formed only if the result is a functional whole. This idea is then used to clarify the definition of a concept and discuss problems in which an instance may belong to different conceptual classes depending on the context. The same idea is also applied to the rules for dealing with an entity when it is formed out of sub-entities. Specific examples of how such rules are frequently violated in literature as well as colloquially are discussed.
EXISTENCE, WE, pp. 65-104
The new metaphysics presented in this article is more indebted to the metaphysics of Ayn Rand than to any other. The author’s system is a transfiguration of hers at the deepest level. The differences and commonalities with Rand’s fundamentals are explicated and argued. Her fundamentals and the author’s are set in their relations to others, ancient to modern.
RE-READING RAND THROUGH A RUSSIAN LENS, pp. 105-10
This article reviews a new book (Khudozhestvennoe tvorchestvo Ayn Rand v russkom kontekste) by a Russian scholar, Anastasiya Grigorovskaya, which places Ayn Rand’s fiction into its Russian context. Grigorovskaya comes to the conclusion that Ayn Rand’s imagery and fiction were heavily influenced by Russian philosophy and literature. Paradoxical it may seem, but written in America in the English language, her novels and plays contain hidden references to ideas and tendencies that preoccupied the minds of many Russian thinkers and writers in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
A MULTILAYERED WORK, pp. 110-14
In this posthumously published novel, Layers, Nathaniel Branden exhibits his talent as not only a philosopher and psychotherapist, but also a writer of fiction. The plot primarily involves the story of Nicholas Holland, a published author and leading therapist, as he interacts with Andrew Berringer, to whom he has come for therapy.
A JOURNEY TO FULFILLMENT, pp. 114-17
The Tao of Roark: Variations on a Theme from Ayn Rand, by Peter Saint-Andre, is a guide to personal development. He begins with the theme of youthful discovery in The Fountainhead and its protagonist, Howard Roark, progressing through forty-eight “variations,” familiar to close readers of Rand’s novel: principles, virtues, and evaluations, which begin with reason and the integration of emotions. This is the intellectual and emotional journey of the author, shared, to inspire the reader.
REPLY TO ROGER E. BISSELL: A MORE SCIENTIFIC COMPATIBILISM, pp. 118-26
The entity causation argument for compatibilism of free will and determinism presented in this journal by Roger Bissell is critiqued, along with Hobbes’s classical compatibilism as begging the question of volition. The author offers more scientific support for compatibilism.
REJOINDER TO GEORGE LYONS: ONTOLOGICAL, ETHICAL, AND METHODOLOGICAL COMPATIBILISM AND THE FREE WILL CONTROVERSY IN OBJECTIVISM, pp. 126-40
The author explains that his previous philosophical arguments for compatibilism (“the logical harmony of determinism and volition,” which he explicates as value-determinism-plus-conditional-free-will) provide a robust basis for ethical and legal responsibility. He defends entity causation, arguing that no coherent model of the universe, including human action, can be formulated that rejects entities as the nexus of identity and causality. Finally, he contends, ontological compatibilism (of determinism and free will) and ethical compatibilism (of determinism and personal responsibility) are both best supported by a more fundamental methodological compatibilism of philosophical and scientific approaches to seeking truth.
Roger E. Bissell is an independent scholar living in Antioch, Tennessee. A research associate with the Molinari Institute, he has edited no fewer than ten books and is the author of more than three dozen scholarly essays in philosophy and psychology, as well as four books, including How the Martians Discovered Algebra: Explorations in Induction and the Philosophy of Mathematics (2014) and What’s in Your File Folder? Essays on the Nature and Logic of Propositions (2019). A lifelong professional musician, he has an MA in music performance and literature (University of Iowa) and a BS in music theory and composition (Iowa State University). He has written extensively on aesthetics and logic and dialectical method and applies this unusual background in an essay on the Great American Songbook, published in The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, a volume that he co-edited with Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Edward W. Younkins (2019).
Stephen Boydstun earned a degree in physics, with a minor in philosophy, from the University of Oklahoma. He took graduate courses in those areas at the University of Chicago. He founded and edited the journal Objectivity (1990–98), a journal of metaphysics, epistemology, and theory of value, informed by modern science. That was a hardcopy journal, and it is now online at http://objectivity-archive.com/. He has contributed “Universals and Measurement” (2004) and “Foundational Frames: Descartes and Rand” (2019) to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
Roger Donway received his AB in philosophy from Brown University, where he met and learned with the Objectivist philosopher David Kelley. For eight years, he was managing editor of Navigator, the monthly magazine published by The Objectivist Center. Since 2005, he has worked as a researcher and editor for Robert Bradley Jr.’s tetralogy on the ideological background and corporate history that led to Enron’s rise and fall.
Mimi Reisel Gladstein is Professor of English and Theatre Arts, University of Texas at El Paso, where she has chaired the English and Philosophy Departments twice, was the first Director of Women’s Studies, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, and Chair of Theatre, Dance, and Film. She has written three books on Ayn Rand and coedited one, Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. A coedited volume on the Chicano artist and writer José Antonio Burciaga won an American Book Award, a Southwest Book Award, and a Latino Book Award. Her work in Steinbeck studies has been recognized with the Burkhart Award for Research and the Pruis Award for teaching. In 2011, she was inducted into the El Paso Commission for Women Hall of Fame and the El Paso County Historical Society Hall of Honor.
Merlin Jetton is an independent scholar. He graduated from the University of Illinois as a math major. He escaped academia in order to apply and expand his math skills in the real world of business. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Chartered Financial Analyst. He retired after a twenty-eight-year career as an actuary and financial engineer, having specialized in asset-liability management the last fifteen years or so. He has been interested in Objectivism for decades. He was a member of the Chicago School of Objectivism, also known as the New Intellectual Forum. He was a presenter there several times and is the author of several articles in the journal Objectivity and in this periodical. He now lives in Ohio.
Mikhail Kizilov has a DPhil in modern history from the University of Oxford (2007) and is a recipient of a fellowship of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Author of more than one hundred publications on various aspects of Russian, Karaite, Crimean, Khazar, and Jewish history, he published the first academic biography (with Ludmila Nikiforova) of Ayn Rand in Russian. It appeared in the series “Lives of Remarkable People” (vol. 2013, Moscow, 2020).
George Lyons is an independent scholar retired in The Villages, Florida, after professional work as a business economist at money center Bankers Trust Co. in New York City for twenty years and later as a professional computer programmer. He attended Nathaniel Branden Lectures in Cleveland while in college and at the Nathaniel Branden Institute while a graduate student in economics at Columbia University in New York. He received his BA at the College of Wooster, Ohio, in 1966. He has previously published articles on the subject of free will and determinism in Objectivity and The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, continued online with the website, Scientific Compatibilism. He also contributes to engineering for robotic household appliances at RobotReviews.com.
Stephen Marvin is a fiction writer, a musician and teacher specializing in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century performance on the violin and viola, a maker of historical bows for string instruments, and a longtime admirer of Objectivist thought and criticism.
Abhijeet Melkani is a researcher in physics with interests in quantum information theory, statistical physics, and the history and philosophy of science.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra received his Ph.D., with distinction, in political theory, philosophy, and methodology from New York University. He is the author of the “Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy,” which includes Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (State University of New York Press, 1995), Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995; expanded second edition, 2013), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). He is coeditor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), coeditor, with Roger E. Bissell and Edward W. Younkins of The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (Lexington Books, 2019), and a founding coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (1999-present). He has written over a dozen encyclopedia entries dealing with Objectivism and libertarianism, given over 50 interviews published in such periodicals as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Village Voice, and The Economist, and published over 150 essays, which have appeared in publications as diverse as Critical Review, Reason Papers, Liberty, Reason, The New York Daily News, Film Score Monthly, Jazz Times, Just Jazz Guitar, and Billboard.
Syed Haroon Ahmed Shah is an MPhil research scholar at International Islamic University, Islamabad. His MPhil dissertation is titled “The Workings of Ideological and Repressive State Apparatuses in the Fiction of Ayn Rand,” which employs the theories of Louis Althusser. He is well versed in Objectivist and libertarian literature and is currently investigating the workings of deontological and utilitarian ethics in Ayn Rand’s fiction. He advocates Objectivism and libertarianism in the academic space of Pakistan, which is predominantly Marxist and socialist.
Amos Wollen is an independent philosopher, who has been published in History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences and The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. He is the winner of the Schools category of the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize (administered by the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2019) and the under-18 winner of the Young Writer on Liberty competition (administered by the Adam Smith Institute, 2020). He is currently a student at Bedales School in Hampshire.